Thursday, April 03, 2008
Blackstock Road – latest info from the police
Background to the Operation
Officers had been preparing for Operation Mista for more than a year prior to last Thursday’s raids. The aim of the operation was to identify those involved in substantial criminal activity – specifically drug dealing, money laundering, handling stolen goods and the production of forged documents. The focus was therefore on serious, organised crime.
Over the course of many months, extensive evidence was gathered regarding the activities of particular criminals – and a number of premises in Blackstock Road were identified as being used regularly by those criminals (for example, to store or sell stolen goods). This significant preparatory work meant that, last week, we were able to target specific criminals who were wanted for specific crimes – with the intention of minimising the inconvenience and disruption to every law abiding member of the local community.
Results of the Operation
Last Thursday afternoon, officers raided 19 specific addresses in Blackstock Road . It should be emphasised that these were not random targets – they had been specifically identified by reliable police intelligence as being concerned in crime;
So far, more than 80 people have been arrested as a consequence of the operation – and there will be further arrests to follow;
36 of those were specific targets – identified in advance of the raids as being involved in significant criminal activity. 30 of them have already been remanded in custody by the court – with the remaining 6 being released on bail in advance of further court proceedings;
Large quantities of cash have been seized, together with drugs and various stolen items;
26 Belgian passports have also been recovered – together with a BB Gun.
Following on from the Operation
The majority of the feedback that we have received since last Thursday has been extremely positive. People are grateful that a set of problems that have existed for such a long time have now been challenged. That said, we do recognise that an operation as large as Mista inevitably has a significant impact on a local community – and that some people will have mixed views about what has taken place. We are committed to listening to every point of view – and to working alongside the local community to ensure that Blackstock Road becomes a safer place for all who live and work in the area.
The ongoing criminal investigation is inevitably complex and the various court proceedings are likely to take some time. As already suggested, further arrests are inevitable. We will be maintaining a consistent visible policing presence in the neighbourhood for some time to come – and are committed to ensuring that criminals no longer have the influence in the area that they once enjoyed.
There is a Dispersal Zone in place for three months – and that will give us additional powers to challenge criminal and anti-social behaviour in the local area. Law-abiding residents and businesses have nothing to fear and everything to gain from this.